Karen was one of those pretty little blond teenage girls. The kind that nobody ever took seriously. She was all of five feet tall, and she couldn't have weighed more than 100 lbs. She spent a lot of her time just trying to be noticed. She desperately wanted to be popular, intelligent, and most of all, to be taken seriously. Although she was old enough to drive, Karen was constantly being mistaken for a little girl. Waiters in restaurants would hand her the childrens menu, old people would ask her what grade she was in, that sort of thing. At first glance Karen appeared to be maybe 11 years old. You would have to look closer to see that she was in fact about 5 years older. Karen made this worse by the clothes she wore. She wore a lot of what I would have to call "Little Girl Clothes", you know cheap colored shirts and shorts from Wal Mart, that sort of thing
Karen's father had moved nearby for some job vaguely related to the church I attended. I developed an interest in her fairly quickly. I asked her to go out with Ryan, his girlfriend and I. She said yes. I picked her up in my lowrider truck. (The whole truck thing was a cry for attention for me). The date was rather uneventful except for when we first got to the restaurant. The waiter handed Karen a children's menu. Karen did not take this well. She went off. I fell head over heels for her while she was yelling at the waiter. You know how some girls are pretty when they are mad, well Karen was beautiful when she was mad. She screamed at the waiter about how could he be so stupid as to give her a Kid's Menu when she was obviously on a date with her boyfriend. Unfortunately that was the only time in my years with Karen she ever referred to me as her boyfriend. At the end of the night I took her home. No kiss but she said she had a great time.
Soon Karen was my regular friday night date. Never just the two of us though. Ryan and Melissa would always be there too. Over time I made my feelings very clear to Karen. She knew how much I liked her. But she would never consent to actually being my girlfriend. Sometimes she was unsure of her feelings, other times she said she was uncomfortable with the fact that I was two years older than her. She never actually said that she didn't like me that way. She at times would even encourage me. "In March I will be 17 and then we will only be one year apart!" was one thing she said that stuck out in my mind. Along with other little things about how "great I was", and how "good I was to her". But she would never just make up her mind one way or the other about me.
One thing that always really confused me was how jealous Karen would get when I would date other girls. Karen wasn't my girlfriend, (and had the best excuses everytime I asked her to be), she even encouraged me to date other girls. (Karen herself never dated anyone but me). Then she would meet them, Oh God was she jealous. "She's not very pretty", "You can do better than that" and, "My sister told me that she's a slut." are all things that Karen had told me about other girls I would date. This would usually get me to stop dating the other girls and just date Karen again. (Maybe this was exactly what she wanted).
Karen often claimed, (to other people especially), that we weren't dating. But we were. When you pick up a girl in your car, take her out someplace, pay for her, hold doors open, compliment them, and all of that stuff, it is a date. The only thing we didn't do was kiss. I wanted to, I tried fairly often, but it never happened. Karen and I would just talk whenever Ryan and his girlfriend would inevitably start making out. The talks where what I liked best. We would talk about our feelings, our plans for the future. Karen would alternate between encouraging me to pursue her further, and persuading me not to. At the end of the night we would always park in her driveway, talk a little more, and then hug. Sometimes I would try to kiss her after the hug but she would always stop me. "I'm not ready yet", "I'm not sure", and "When we do finally kiss I want it to be perfect" were all things she said. The last one always gave me a lot of hope, (because it fairly clearly stated that we would kiss). Thats how she was though. One day she would be sitting on my lap telling me nice things about myself, the next day she would be pointing out other girls for me. Karen was always very confusing like that.
Dating Karen was in many ways one disaster after another. If something bad was going to happen to her, it would happen when we were together. People would think she was a little girl, and she would get upset. She would manage to spill things, or fall down and get hurt. Karen was the only girl who ever managed to break her arm while she was on a date with me. We were at the park, and she managed to fall off the merry go round, (fracturing her arm). Another time we went to a carnival, she was so pretty that day. She was exceptionally happy about her new outfit. (It was all white, and very cute). First she managed to sit in motor oil, completely ruining her shorts. Then it started raining, making her white shirt basically transparent. She freaked out once she realized that everyone could see right through her shirt. It wasn't just her shirt, you could see right through her white shorts as well. (I couldn't bear to tell her though, she was already upset enough). Then the very next time we went out she managed to reveal herself to everyone once again. We were swimming, Karen lost her swimsuit bottom when she jumped off the diving board. Somehow she didn't notice at first. Later she yelled at me for looking.
Then there was the case of the time we almost kissed. This was in the parking lot of Applebee's. We were talking. I hugged her and kissed her forehead. She told me softly that she was ready. I leaned in to kiss her. Before I did she yelled, "Oh my god theres two guys kissing in the car next to us!". I looked over and saw that there were. She then asked to go home. So I took her home, (once again), without so much as one kiss from the girl I truly adored.
At some point in all this I began seeing Brianna, but things were right back to normal with Karen after Brianna and I broke up. Karen couldn't stand Brianna. She never said anything nice to her, and acted quite snobby to her face when they would end up around each other.
Things ended with Karen and I when I joined the Army. She would write me letters from time to time. But she was rarely home when I would try and call her. By the time I got out of the Army, (1 year and 2 broken ankles later), Karen had a steady boyfriend, a "real boyfriend". I tried to find out from her a few years later how she had really felt. But she acted confused and tried to minimize the whole thing. For a long time I was never sure how she truly felt about me.
Years later my friends drug me to a rather boring Halloween party. When we arrived I immediately found the hostess of the party to be strangely familiar. After a few minutes I placed her, she was Karen's older sister, I hadn't seen her in probably 8 years.
Sure enough, Karen herself showed up soon after I did. She was with her new fiance. I said hello, she said hello, and as I walked away I heard him ask her "Paige? Is that Paige, like your first boyfriend Paige?". I just barely heard her say "Yeah, shut up". I am glad my back was turned, I didn't want her to see the smile on my face. Those two little lines finally brought another subplot from my life to a nice happy ending, and cleared up every bit of confusion I ever had about her.
Karen married that guy a few years later, her parents invited me to the wedding, but I did not attend. Every once in a while I'll see her in a restaurant, she will pretend she doesn't notice me, and I'll pretend not to notice her, as there isn't anything left for us to do.